Touting vanity metrics like Facebook fans and Twitter followers may make brands feel good about themselves, but the figures offer little indication of the real effectiveness of their social media campaigns. As with real people, the company with the most online friends isn’t necessarily the most popular. Social benchmarking company Unmetric has released its Top Retailer Report analyzing the engagement results of the top eight clothing retailers in the first half of 2012.
The Unmetric report is based on a proprietary metric, the Unmetric Score, which blends and weights 24 social media metrics into a single number. The number is a bit like a Klout score for companies – a cringe-worthy but apt comparison. For the brands profiled, the benchmark score provides sector-wide context against competition in a given space.
The report provides separate Unmetric Scores for both Facebook and Twitter. For example, on Facebook, Walmart is the top dog among retailers with a score of 75 out of 100, followed by Target at 72. The drop-off to number three is a big one with Macy’s and Kohl’s coming in tied at 52. On Twitter, it’s a more closely bunched leaderboard led by Target at 52, then Nordstrom and Walmart at 48 and 43 respectively.
Again it’s not just the friend and follower counts that tell the story, it matters how the numbers are trending and what real-world commerce the companies can drive as a result. When it comes to simple follower counts, the data requires no analysis. On Facebook, the scoreboard reads Walmart with 17 million fans, then Target with 14 million, and Khols with nearly 7 million. But Target is the growth leader on the big blue social platform, swelling at a rate of 83 percent over the six months measured.
On Twitter, Target is at the head of the class with 339,000 followers, followed by Nordstrom with 182,000, then Walmart with 156,000. On the micro-conversation platform, Macy’s is growing the fastest at 29 percent, followed by Gap at 22 percent, and Target and JCPenney tied at slightly more than 20 percent.
One of the keys to Walmart’s success on the Twitter platform is that it is the fastest responder among all the large brands. The company replies to Tweets in one hour and 28 minutes on average, although replies represent only 7 percent of its total Tweets. Compare that to Nordstrom, the second fastest responder, for whom replies represent 92 percent of all their Tweets.
For total engagement across both platforms, calculated by likes, shares, and comments, Target is the big winner with a score of 33 followed by Walmart which averages 30.
Tellingly, although updates on products and offers represent 45 percent of all posts Facebook, the report reveals that brand news actually sees the highest overall engagement with a Unmetric Score of 13 (again based on total likes, shares, and comments).
The most engaging post by Target over the last half year was one announcing its celebration of National Princess Week on April 23rd, which resulted in 10,500 shares, 65,000 likes and 3,500 comments, for a sky high single-post engagement score of 549. Also revealed in the report is that while brands prefer to post content on Fridays, it’s actually Monday posts that lead to the greatest engagement with an average score of 13.
Unmetric represents the brave new world of the quantified business, and is a clear leader in the social analytics space. Rather than parroting back raw data, the company looks at the totality of the stats to extract real actionable information.
Online influence is becoming more and more important, but understanding who has it and how it’s playing out in the real world has been the hard part. Companies like Unmetric, that shed light by interpreting the underlying data, have never been more important, a trend that’s extending beyond social media to online advertising, supply chains, and every other measurable segment of business.